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Hope Mills leaders to get update on dam repairs

Posted September 8, 2010

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— Hope Mills commissioners were expected to get an update Wednesday night about repairs to the Hope Mills Dam.

The $14 million dam was drained in June after a structural failure around the drainage system allowed a sinkhole to develop, causing water to flow out beneath the dam. The 2-year-old dam replaced an earthen dam that washed away in a 2003 storm.

A state engineer said a break in vinyl sheeting in the dam's foundation sent water gushing out, but what exactly caused the break remains under investigation.

“As of today, nobody has really accepted responsibility,” said Mike Mitchell, president of the community group Friends of Hope Mills Lake.

Town Manager Randy Beeman said it could be three to five years before it gets fixed.

“The three-year window is not that three years from now we start building. That is from the permitting, design phases, renewing phases and approval phase,” Beeman said Wednesday.

Beeman said crews are still working to stabilize the structure.

Mitchell said the dry lake-bed means a drought of business for places like Big T's, a lakeside snack shop.

“I think their business has really dropped off tremendously and also for downtown Hope Mills,” Mitchell said.

hope mills dam Hope Mills Dam might take years to repair

There is also a concern about sinking property values. The town has already endured six years with no lake after the earthen dam breached.

Mitchell said the idea of waiting three more years is disappointing.

Town officials said they are committed to repairing the dam. Beeman said no one has brought up the possibility of removing it. “It’s certainly the focal point of the community, and we want the lake back,” he said.

Beeman said the dam can be salvaged. “Indications are that it will not have to be totally demolished,” he said.

An official with the state handling dam safety did not return calls on Wednesday.

Beeman said he has no timeline for investigating what went wrong with the dam – and no price tag for fixing it. He said he hopes the town will not have to bear the brunt of the cost.

Beeman said the town has not spent anything since the dam failed. The engineers and contractors have paid for securing the dam and investigating what happened.


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  • Sherlock Sep 10, 2010

    I just heard that the state and Aunt Bev is going to get involved in this, first she will fire someone then form a committe to review what happen then move the blame to someone else and then wait for the committe to let here know that no taxes were collected and she gets another committe to look at finding.......

  • Sherlock Sep 10, 2010

    Save money get rid of the dam and build homes for the homeless. Or better yet contract with beaver they do a better job at this and their will last longer, cost nothing, and you need to blast to brign it down.

  • mgratk Sep 9, 2010

    Vinyl does not seem to be the answer.

  • WHEEL Sep 9, 2010

    Ezeegoing. It's simple, Nasa did the moon shots, NCDOT designed and supervised the first replacement dam. You don't stop water with vinyl sheeting regardless of how you backfill it. Steel sheet piling down about 40 ft in that sand is the answer. More expensive but cheaper than redooing it every 2 to 3 years.

  • shortcake53 Sep 8, 2010

    I had to laugh when I read the headline, it could have been worded differently, lol.

  • white0333 Sep 8, 2010

    home owners should pay not tax money.

  • EZeegoing Sep 8, 2010

    Let me see if I understand this. In 1969 the United States sent a human to the moon, gave him a car to drive around, talked to him, sent back pictures then brought him home. Now here we are forty something years later and it is estimated to take five years to plan, design and institute a fix in a ground leak of a pond dam. Somebody please tell me that we have not degressed in technology and skills. If I was a resident of Hope Mills I would be asking for better answers. Gimmi a break !!!

  • Tug Boat Sep 8, 2010

    Maybe it’s time to forget the Dam and create a park.

  • ghimmy51 Sep 8, 2010

    Guys I've been doing that kind of work for 20 years. The ENTIRE foundation of that dam needs to be exposed and the area sealed with hydraulic cement down to bedrock. The contractor should bear all costs. Other than that I can't believe they spent so much for that thing when all they needed was a SHORT and simple dam. Wanna know what breaks vinyl sheeting? Backfilling by a no-brained dozer operator. It was only a matter of when the water would find it.

  • Pseudonym Sep 8, 2010

    The dam engineers are working on the dam repairs. Soon, they'll give a dam update. :-)